MANNY Pacquiao faces another major problem after the Commission on Elections asked his camp to comment on opinions that the Philippine broadcast of his April 9 (April 10, Manila time) fight against Timothy Bradley is in violation of election laws and should therefore be banned.
Just weeks after coming under fire for his comments on same-sex marriage, the Filipino boxing hero and senatorial candidate faces the specter of his supposed farewell fight not being shown on Philippine television, which could lead to a great loss in terms of interest and revenue.
Spin.ph got hold of a communication from the Comelec dated March 2 asking the camp of Pacquiao to comment on letters from fellow senatorial candidate Walden Bello and former senator Rene Saguisag requesting the election body to make a decision on the Pacquiao fight.
Both Bello and Saguisag believe the Philippine airing of the Pacquiao-Bradley fight violates Republic Act No. 9006 or the Fair Elections Act, which, among other things, limits the television exposure of candidates in the May polls during the campaign season.
“In this regard, we kindly request the submission of your written comment on the matter within five (5) days from receipt hereof,” said the Comelec in a letter signed by Acting Director 4 Maria Norina Casingal.
Pacquiao’s legal team is expected to submit its comment to the Comelec on Monday.
If the Comelec decides against Pacquiao, Filipino fight fans will have to find other means to watch the farewell fight of the country's greatest athlete other than the broadcast on free television.
However, well-known election lawyer Romulo Macalintal played down the chances of the fight's Philippine broadcast being stopped, saying there is no complaint in the first place.
Both Bello and Saguisag are only seeking the opinion of the Comelec on the broadcast of the fight, Makalintal added.
“Panong iba-ban eh walang karapatang iban yan. (Kung may plano sila) eh di bahala sila,” said Macalintal in between laughter. “Depende 'yan kung ano ang sasabihin nila. Eh kung walang nagrereklamo, papaano namang gagawin ng Comelec yun.”
On the motions filed by Bello and Saguisag, Makalintal said, "Walang reklamo, hindi reklamo yun, humihingi lang ng opinion 'yun. Ang tanong: ‘Pwede bang gumawa ng opinion ang Comelec?'” said Macalintal.
Makalintal was in General Santos City to meet with Pacquiao when contacted for comment by Spin.ph.
Meanwhile, two-time world champion and Pacquiao pal Gerry Penalosa expressed dismay over the development, saying ‘t will be unfair to deprive Filipino fight fans of access to the fight.
“Di nila pwedeng gawin yun kasi magagalit ang tao dun. Ako lang, magagalit ako pag di naipalabas dito sa bansa 'yun kasi matagal kong inaabangan ang laban ni Manny, almost one year din siyang walang laban,” said Penalosa.
“Saka hindi naman mangangampanya si Manny na iboto siya habang nasa ibabaw ng ring. Paano naman magiging advantage yun para sa kanyang kampanya? Hindi rin siya nakakadalo ng mga rally ng partido nya, dahil nag-eensayo siya,” added the former WBC superflyweight and WBO bantamweight champion.